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Kent backs Brexit in EU referendum poll

By Paul Francis

With one week until Britain goes to the polls, an exclusive KM survey has revealed 57% of Kent voters want to leave the EU.

The county-wide poll, conducted by Ashford-based Facts International, has revealed immigration is the key issue for those supporting a Brexit.

The figures indicate the county is more strongly inclined to leave the EU than other parts of the UK.

The poll findings come as both sides in the campaign make their final push for votes in what has been an often acrimonious battle.

Our survey found 57% of those likely to vote or will vote want to leave, 58% of those who favour Brexit say immigration is the most important issue and the economy and jobs were most important for those wanting to stay (47%).

It also indicated turnout could be as high as 91% and ten MPs might be out of step with their constituents on the question of staying or leaving.

Our survey also suggests that Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage are the most influential figures for Brexiteers.

The Bank of England, UK business leaders and Mark Carney are the main influences for those who plan to vote to remain.

Of those who said they would not vote, one in four said it was because they did not know enough.

The survey also points to a significant generation gap, with those aged 55-plus significantly more likely to vote to quit the EU (65%) than remain.

Younger people - those aged between 35 and 54 - are, in contrast, more likely to want the UK to remain in the EU by a margin of 55% to 45%.

However, the poll reveals that 17% are still undecided about how to vote, suggesting there could be a more even split between in the county on June 23.

Video: Paul Francis gives his reaction to our poll

Ten Kent MPs could be out of step with their constituents when it comes to voting in the referendum.

Although the sample data is small, the poll offers an intriguing snapshot of where opinion differs between MPs and voters.

Our poll suggests likely voters in seven constituencies would prefer to leave while their MPs would prefer to stay.

They are: Ashford (Damian Green); Dover (Charlie Elphick); Faversham and Mid Kent (Helen Whatley); Maidstone and the Weald (Helen Grant); North Thanet (Sir Roger Gale); Folkestone and Hythe (Damian Collins) and Rochester and Strood (Kelly Tolhurst).

Prime Minister David Cameron is leading the Remain camp
Prime Minister David Cameron is leading the Remain camp
Boris Johnson has floated the idea of a bridge across the Channel
Boris Johnson has floated the idea of a bridge across the Channel

In Dartford (Gareth Johnson), Sittingbourne and Sheppey (Gordon Henderson), South Thanet (Craig Mackinlay) and Gillingham and Rainham (Rehman Chishti), MPs share the same views as their constituents in supporting a Brexit.

In Sevenoaks (Michael Fallon), Tunbridge Wells (Greg Clark) and Tonbridge and Malling (Tom Tugendhat) voters likely to vote agree with their MPs in wanting to remain.

In Gravesham, where MP Adam Holloway believes the UK should leave, his constituents would appear to want to stay.

The most Euro-sceptic area is Sittingbourne and Sheppey, where 62% favour leaving the EU; followed by North Thanet (58%) and Chatham and Aylesford (57%).

And the most Europhile part of the county is Sevenoaks where 54% of those surveyed backed staying in.

The KM Group teamed up with Ashford-based market research company Facts International for what is thought to be the only Kent-wide survey conducted during the referendum campaign.

Facts International spoke to 1,001 Kent residents via a telephone poll between May 25 and June 1, 2016 and the results provide a fascinating insight into the key issues that are likely to influence Kent voters on June 23.

Respondents included voters from every constituency in Kent and Medway.

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